Shared from the 6/10/2018 Reading Eagle eEdition

‘Keep the emotions out of the numbers’

For seniors who are considering a move, there is a lot more involved than with the typical real estate transaction.

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Dave Renninger

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Tom Degler

When the time comes to pack up and move out of a house that holds memories, souvenirs and rooms full of furniture and photos, the task may not be easy, but many people over 55 are taking the plunge.

Dave Renninger, a senior real estate and buyer specialist for the Dave Mattes Team, RE/MAX of Reading, Spring Township, confirms his older clients planning on downsizing have the benefit of bringing cash to the table from the equity they gain from selling their houses.

“If they’re cash buyers, they don’t have to worry about going through the mortgage process,” he said.

Not only do cash offers save buyers from paying mortgage fees at settlement, they make offers more attractive in the current sellers’ market.

But limitations on what may work for a next home may make locating the perfect spot for anyone over age 55 more complicated than a first venture into real estate.

“The biggest challenge to all buyers is there are so few houses out there,” Renninger said.

He confirms that many older buyers are seeking one-story living, and ranch style homes are not as readily available as many two-story houses may be.

Renninger suggests to homebuyers a small cape cod design with a lower-level master bedroom as a good alternative to the one-story ranch. He said there are even more perks with an over-55 community, where some home and yard maintenance is provided.

Purchasing home

If buyers have the added wrinkle of an aging parent coming along to move into the new house, purchasing a one-level home may be their only option.

Renninger cautions that finding houses with in-law suites already included is a difficult task. An adult- or college-age child may add even more confusion to the homebuying process if buyers have to consider limiting their downsizing to keep enough room for their children.

While challenges such as the scarcity of homes in a hot real estate market affect any buyer, some difficulties are more likely to come with an over-55 buyer who is looking to move but has a house to sell first.

The less contingencies that come with an offer are best.

U.S. News & World Report suggests a buyer can work with a lender to obtain a home equity line of credit on a current home to use for a new home down payment, and consider keeping the family home as a rental for a few years. It also may help bridge the gap to rent the current home back from interested buyers for a few months or move into a temporary rental between houses.

While owning a home for years puts many buyers into the great position of paying cash, having a home to sell adds to the challenges of purchasing a home in the later years.

Tom Degler, a Realtor with KW Elite Keller Williams Realty, Bern Township, is also a senior real estate specialist. Additionally, Degler earned a national designation as a certified senior adviser, a certification carried by professionals who work with seniors in various industries.

Much more involved

Degler explained that when he is working with seniors who are considering a move, there is a lot more involved than with the average real estate transaction.

“Emotions play a big part when it comes to parting with the home they lived in for many years,” he said. “As a Realtor, I have to keep the emotions out of the numbers.”

Renninger agreed that despite the active real estate market, future buyers have to leave emotions at the door and price their homes properly to sell. That may require some work on the part of the homeowners, family or an outside service.

More than half of Degler’s clients use a move manager in some aspect of their downsizing process, and he explains that the degree the extra help is needed depends on the availability of family, friends and the ability of the homeowners to get a home ready for sale.

Degler said: “I do see more and more that a move manager company is needed, because children are too busy with their lives, friends have moved away or passed away and, physically, seniors cannot do the work.”

Move management companies, according to Degler, help their clients sort accumulated acquisitions and coordinate packing, moving and unpacking.

They help determine how to dispose of items that will not fit in a downsized home, discussing whether to donate, sell, auction or gift them.

A move manager can even prepare a floor plan of the new home, showing where furniture can successfully be placed.

Some of Degler’s senior real estate clients have chosen to handle moves themselves to save the costs of hiring a move management company, only to end up frustrated and stressful.

At a recent interview with seniors downsizing from a two-story home on a 1-acre property, the idea of hiring help to ease the process was exciting.

Maintenance involved

Part of the struggle of buying a house over age 55 may be the maintenance involved in getting a property up to today’s standards and ready to list.

Renninger explains that stylish decor from the last several decades, such as dark paneling, wallpaper, pastel bathroom fixtures, and shag carpeting, will not bring a full-price offer, even in today’s sellers’ market. Houses can be sold as-is if deferred maintenance and updating are not feasible, if the house is priced correctly, he confirms.

Degler explained that a decluttering and professional cleaning can make a major difference to get a home ready for listing, but offers other suggestions for sellers to consider, including removing and storing items that interrupt the flow of a home; organizing all storage areas; cleaning lights, fans and carpeting; removing excessive wall art and knickknacks; making all maintenance repairs; cleaning or painting walls and ceilings if necessary; and replacing worn cabinet handles and counters.

On the exterior, Degler advises to focus on mowing, weeding, removing yard clutter, painting fences, cleaning windows and siding, painting the front door, maintaining gutters and downspouts and buying a new welcome mat and flower pots out front.

“Giving up one’s stored treasures and the thought of all the work involved can make it very difficult to make the move,” Degler said.

Contact Karen L. Chandler: specialsections@readingeagle.com .

While challenges such as the scarcity of homes in a hot real estate market affect any buyer, some difficulties are more likely to come with an over-55 buyer who is looking to move but has a house to sell first.

See this article in the e-Edition Here